St Mary’s College best sportstars of 2020 revealed
WITH so many dedicated and ambitious students at St Mary's College, sport is an essential focus for supportive teachers like Program Leader Sport Antonia Conomos.
Conomos and her support staff are keen to broaden the college sporting program where possible to meet the needs of talented teenagers.
"A lot of our sport here at the moment is driven by the girls,'' Conomos said.
"If the girls come and see us, we do then try and look into it.''
Current examples include bringing NRL and AFL women's opportunities into the college, given they are fast-growing sports.
"We try to introduce some new sports,'' Conomos said.
"We started some NRL at the end of last year and the beginning of this year. And we are looking at developing our ARL.
"Women's AFL and women's NRL are now on TV and becoming quite popular, so we have to move with the times.''
In her third year at the College, Conomos said St Mary's had also approached Queensland Rugby to participate in a future carnival.
But it's not only mainstream sports where St Mary's College is progressive.
A sports aerobics program introduced with student motivation has been hugely successful with St Mary's winning national titles.
Conomos has a strong sporting background in tennis and cricket and still runs triathlons.
At district level, she is a deputy chair for Queensland School Sport cricket.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, some changes have been made to how Term 3 sport is currently run in the CaSSSA (Catholic Secondary Schoolgirls Sports Association) and CiSSSA (Combined Ipswich Secondary School Sporting Association) competitions.
The Term 3 sports St Mary's are participating in are volleyball, soccer, netball and hockey.
Volleyball and soccer started in shortened seasons this week with students preparing for upcoming one-day netball carnivals and hockey, which starts in September.
St Mary's enters teams in each division.
All going well, St Mary's hope to run a CaSSSA inter-school cross country carnival in August.
Netball, soccer and hockey are among St Mary's major sports along with high achievers in swimming, athletics, cricket and touch football.
Conomos said the college netballers were especially excited about upcoming carnivals after the Ipswich Netball Association recently cancelled its winter season due to COVID-19.
"Netball is huge for us,'' she said.
In the latest QT series on Ipswich's Shining School Sportstars, read about St Mary's 2020 leaders.
Year: 12. Age:17.
Sport: Sport aerobics.
Major sporting achievements from the past 12 months: FISAF Super Series Pre-Choreographed High School Groups - 1st place; FISAF State Championships Pre-Choreographed High School Groups - 1st; FISAF State Championships Large Teams High School Groups - 2nd; FISAF National Championships Pre-Choreographed High School Groups - 1st (national champions); FISAF National Championships Large Teams High School Groups - 3rd.
Why enjoy sport: Great way to keep fit and active. The team environment and I enjoy performing with my friends. It incorporates elements of dance with aerobic fitness movements to create a fun high energy routine. Competitions are always a very inclusive environment where teams come together to support and encourage each other. Sport instils confidence in performing.
How the college has assisted your development: After learning sport aerobics as a practical unit in Year 8 curriculum for physical education, we approached our sports coordinator at the time and expressed our interest in having a sport aerobics team at St Mary's College. The College Leadership team were fully supportive and encouraging of this. The next year, we created a St Mary's College Sport Aerobics team.
Since then our current Sports Leader Ms Antonia Conomos, along with Cultural Leader Mrs Courtney Fook and past student Emily Heuer have played a crucial role in allowing this sport to grow within our College community. Each year we have added new teams as the interest in the sport grows across all year levels. With their guidance and coaching, our teams have enjoyed many incredible opportunities to compete in competitions and for our College community.
Sporting goals: I would be honoured to come back to the College and share my love of the sport by coaching a sport aerobics team. I am also looking forward to joining the team to defend our title as national champions later this year.
Year: 12. Age: 17.
Major achievements: Age champion at school swimming carnival for five years. Won the Leah Neale Cup the past two years. Represented St Mary's College at the CaSSSA swimming carnival for six years and competed in 10 events at each carnival over the past two years. Made the Met West swim team for the past three years.
The highlight was winning the Leah Neale Cup at the St Mary's College swimming carnival earlier this year. It was wonderful to feel so supported by all of my friends.
Hearing all the St Mary's College spectators (mainly year 7 students) cheer me on at the CaSSSA swimming carnival this year, where I was the only St Mary's student to compete in 200m and 100m freestyle. The noise they were making really made me push as hard as I could and helped me to achieve a great result.
Why enjoy sport: Swimming is a great stress reliever - something which is really important for me this year as I work through year 12. I also enjoy the social aspect of swimming. I have met lots of great people through my involvement in swimming and it helps me to meet new friends and make new connections regularly.
Swimming helps to keep me motivated and organised - I need to have a routine and good time management skills to make sure I meet all of my commitments for school and for swimming. Swimming is also really rewarding. I love knowing that I have tried my best and achieved a result I can be proud of.
How the college has assisted your development: Many current and past teachers at St Mary's have supported me to achieve my best both in and out of the pool. My teachers are always encouraging to try my best and help me to achieve my best. They constantly check in to see how I have been going with training and competing and make sure I am coping okay with my school work as well. My teachers are always asking how they can support me, especially in Term 1, when my swimming load is heavy.
Sporting goals: After my year 12 external exams are completed and school pressures ease, I look forward to continuing with my swimming training for fitness. I would love to become a swimming coach for St Marys College and support the next generation of girls, and continue my connection with the College.
Year: 9. Age: 14.
Major sporting achievements: Represented Queensland for the School Sport Australia 12 Years and Under Cricket Championships (Bunbury in December 2018).
Silver medallist for Queensland at the School Sport Australia 12 Years and Under Cricket Championships, coming fourth in the Queensland team player rankings and 12th in the overall bowling rankings (five wickets with an average of 6.2 with best figures of 3/1).
Represented Metropolitan West for the Queensland School Sport 10-12 Years Girls Cricket State Championships (Brisbane in November 2018).
Vice-captain Met West for the Queensland School Sport 10-12 Years Girls Cricket State Championships.
Represented the Southern Blaze for Queensland Cricket's Under 13 Female State Challenge (Ipswich in January 2019), coming 26th in the overall Champion Player rankings.
Invited to attend the South East Queensland Girls Junior Cricket Academy for season 2019/2020 (a development program run by Queensland Cricket as part of the Cricket Australia Player Pathway).
Why enjoy sport: Cricket is a skilful and tactical game. It allows me to be active and outdoors and I get to relate myself to many of my cricketing heroes. I also get to develop my leadership and teamwork skills while improving my technical cricket skills throughout each game. I would love to get a 50. I especially look forward to the team camaraderie and will no doubt develop resilience as I know I may not always achieve my goals. Cricket also gives me the opportunity to get involved beyond the game, with scoring, coaching, and umpiring. Mostly I really enjoy talking about the game, it's great.
How the college has assisted your development: I have been encouraged by the school's Sport Leader, Ms Conomos to follow my sporting goals, whether it be cricket or netball. Her enthusiasm and passion motivate me to be active and involved and to pursue other advantages of being involved in sport, such as leadership, camaraderie, and improved wellbeing.
Sporting goals: As I get to watch my cricket hero Ash Gardiner play, I would really like to play WBBL as well. I hope that I am a role model to other young girls who want to follow a similar path.
Year: 10. Age: 15.
Sport excels in: Field hockey.
Major sporting achievements from the past 12 months: Met West school sport championship U19's 2019 and 2020.
I made my fifth Queensland team in February (three outdoor tournaments and two indoor tournaments) travelling all around Australia. Due to COVID-19, I was unable to play in my fifth nationals tournament representing Queensland in April at Bathurst but for the other four championships I attended, my team placed throughout the top five.
Why enjoy sport: I enjoy playing hockey because of the people I get to meet, the places I get to travel and the different levels of competition. There is always another level of competition, or representative team to strive for and I am love the challenge of working harder to get to the next levelor the highest level.
How the college has assisted your development: The school has been supportive whenever I have had to take days off school for training or tournaments. My teachers help me to balance my schoolwork and educational priorities with my hockey commitments.
Sporting goals: My ultimate goal with hockey is to play in the Olympics or Commonwealth Games. It's always been the biggest dream of mine to represent Australia. I've been lucky enough to train with people at that level already and listen to their stories which inspire me to reach my dream.
Year: 11. Age: 16.
Sport excels in: Athletics (hurdles and heptathlon).
Major sporting achievements from the past 12 months: In February, I competed in the Australian heptathlon championship and won the gold medal in the under-17 heptathlon.
Why enjoy sport: Training and competing has taught me self-discipline, a skill which I apply to other areas of my life, including my schoolwork. I also enjoy the mental and physical challenge of working to be the best athlete I can be.
How the college has assisted your development: The school is supportive of my involvement in athletics.
Sporting goals: Moving forward in athletics I want to keep representing on a state level and hopefully one day represent Australia.
Year: 9. Age: 14
Sport excels in: Swimming (my best stroke is freestyle and I am more suited to long distance).
Major sporting achievements from the past 12 months: I have been training for at least 14 hours a week to keep fit and competition ready. I've been CYMS St Edmunds age champion for the past three years, making the state titles in the 200m freestyle with a time of 2:19:09.
Why enjoy sport: I enjoy the social side of swimming - I have met some great people in training and at competitions. Training for swimming means I can keep fit and strong while doing something I enjoy, and I like challenging myself to get a little bit better every time I compete.
How the college has assisted your development: My coach Simon Smith encourages me to do my best and sees qualities in me that could help me achieve future goals in swimming. He knows how to get the most out of each individual swimmer in our squad.
Sporting goals: My goal in swimming is to go as far in the sport as I can, like swimming for an Australia or an Olympic team. Smaller goals that are achievable in the short term are to go under five minutes in my 400m freestyle and to see how fast I can go in all areas of swimming.
Year: 9. Age: 14.
Sports excel in: Touch football and NRL.
Major sporting achievements from the past 12 months: Met West Under 16 girls team.
Ipswich representative Falcons U16 A Team, Ipswich women's Monday night comp, Ipswich mixed Tuesday night comp and Metro Western Mustangs Friday night comp.
I started playing touch football in primary school and joined a team in the Ipswich junior competition on Thursday afternoons. I have played in the Ipswich representative Falcons teams since under 10s competing in the State Cup at Hervey Bay each year.
St Mary's College launched an NRL training program last year and formed our first team. Unfortunately, the carnival was cancelled this year because of COVID restrictions. I am hopeful we get the chance to compete in a competition with other schools next year.
Why enjoy sport: It's all about teamwork and playing together. Touch football and NRL are great to keep my fitness and health good. When it comes to sport I can be pretty competitive so it is a good day when we take the win. I know, though, win or lose there is always room to improve and I enjoy working to be my best individually and as part of a team.
How the college has assisted your development: The school touch football teams have helped me to improve my skills and ability. The training sessions at school are always a lot of fun. It is a great way to keep us fit and get to know everyone better as a team.
St Mary's College, under the direction of PE teacher Mrs Sarah Minz, ran several NRL training sessions last year with NRL development officers, including Tanika Marshall. Tanika is a former student of St Mary's College and has represented Fiji in NRL. She is now part of the Brisbane Broncos squad. These sessions helped to build confidence in a contact sport. Tanika is a great model and advocate for NRL and is a great role model.
Sporting goals: I am focused on improving as a player and making more representative teams at a higher level.
Year: 9. Age: 14.
Sports excel in: Touch football and hockey.
Major sporting achievements from the past 12 months: I currently participate in touch football on Monday nights for a women's competition, and on Wednesday nights for a mixed team. I was selected into the Ipswich Falcons Touch football side and also successfully made the Met West Touch football team.
Why enjoy sport: I enjoy playing all sports because it keeps me fit and is a lot of fun. I also love that you get to socialise with friends. I am not naturally talented and I tend to have to work hard to achieve my goals. I believe that I have the grit and determination which is needed to assist me in attaining them. I have a lot passion for the sport of touch football and can become quite competitive, and always want to win.
How the college has assisted your development: I love any sports and I am willing to give anything a go and I love that St Mary's has so many different sporting opportunities for me to improve. The school has assisted my development by providing opportunities for me to improve my strength and agility by offering CrossFit sessions at the school. This is a fun and different way for me to train that I really enjoyed.
At the start of the year, St Mary's College offered a number of NRL training sessions which also supported my interests and improved my fitness and passing skills. I built on my ball handling skills and learnt safe tackling. It was great to train in a contact sport with other girls from St Mary's College and to have some professional players assisting us. Recently I was also selected in our school volleyball team.
Sporting goals: My main goal is to obtain my personal best in whatever sport I participate in. Ultimately, I would love to play touch football at a Queensland level and one day play for the Titans touch football team.
Year: 9. Age: 14.
Sports excel in: Athletics and netball.
Major sporting achievements: Selection in the 2018/2019 Queensland athletics team (high jump).
2018: Placed 10th at nationals for high jump in my age group (school track and field championships).
2018/2019: Competed at little athletics states in high jump, long jump, 100m sprint and shot put.
2018: Placed first in high jump at little athletics state relays.
2018/2019: Ipswich representative netball team.
Why enjoy sport: It gives me something to work towards while doing something I enjoy. It provides me with a social life outside of school and something to do in my spare time. It also feels really good when you do well in a competition or get a personal best because it makes you realise that your hard work pays off.
How the college has assisted your development: The school has provided me with opportunities for training and competing against other schools within the CaSSA and CiSSA competitions.
Sporting goals: In the future, I hope to compete at nationals again in track and field and improve my performance in several events (potentially heptathlon).
Year: 7. Age: 12.
Sport excel in: AFL, NRL, cross country, athletics and touch.
Major sporting achievements: 2nd in state with Met West AFL, 2nd in state with Met West NRL. Won grand final and named player of the match for club AFL. Played in state finals for AFL Schools Cup.
Competed in the district team for athletics and cross country and chosen in Ipswich representative team for touch.
Why enjoy sport: I've really enjoyed the challenge of more physical sports and it pushes me to be the best I can be.
How the college has assisted your development: Earlier this year, we were really lucky at St Mary's College to have the opportunity to train with some NRL development coaches and female international players. This really inspired me to keep on playing contact sports and helped me to improve my NRL skills.
Sporting goals: Long term, I would love to play AFL or NRL professionally. For now, I will keep training hard and make the most of all the opportunities that St Mary's College offers.
Year: 9. Age: 14.
Sports excel in: Netball, athletics, touch and volleyball.
Major sporting achievements: Queensland representative netball team; winning a touch grand final; Cornubia representative netball team.
When I was in grade 7 and 12 years old, I also ran the Queens Baton Relay.
Why sport: Playing sport brings out the best in me - it makes me who I am and allows the inner me to stand out. I feel strong and confident when I am playing sport. I like that it helps me to keep fit and healthy. I hope to make a career out of my sport.
How the college has assisted your development: I have been given the opportunity to captain many St Mary's College netball teams. This has helped me develop my skills both on and off the court. I have learnt to be a good leader and also developed my self-confidence, and my decision making skills.
Sporting goals: My dream goal is to be able to play for the Queensland Firebirds netball team and make my family proud.
Year: 9. Age: 14.
Sports/major achievements: Rugby league and rugby union.
I also played soccer last year and was selected for the Queensland side.
Why enjoy sport: It is where I get to meet new friends and is just something I love to do.
How the college has assisted your development: St Mary's have assisted me in sport as the staff have provided me with many opportunities to join teams and attend special coaching and skills building workshops. There are also many wonderful teachers and coaches at St Mary's College supporting me and helping me to achieve my best.
Sporting goals: To continue playing sport as it is my greatest passion and I will always enjoy it.
Year: 12. Age: 17.
Sport excel in: Athletics (triple jump).
Major achievements: My greatest achievement is becoming the Queensland champion in under-16 triple jump last year then going to Perth for All schools' national championships. I qualified again for the Australian championships which were cancelled due to COVID-19.
Why enjoy sport: I love doing athletics because I can push myself to new limits. When I do well and get a personal best, everything pays off.
How the college has assisted your development: The school supports me and it is always an honour to compete in the school colours at CaSSSA.
Sporting goals: I would love to place at the national championships and hopefully one day represent Australia.